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The Keto Diet: A Healthy Alternative or a Passing Trend?


breast cancerEveryone knows someone who’s now following the Ketogenic, or Keto diet. But is this diet actually beneficial for your health, or is it another trend that will soon pass?


The Keto Diet consists of a low-carb diet that allows you to get more calories from protein and fat instead of carbohydrates.

In recent years, people are following the Keto diet either to lose weight or fight a disease. 

In Dr. Patrick Hwu’s research, he refers to the Keto diet as a “fat-burning metabolism diet.” Patrick has been opting for the Keto diet for 6 years, long before it was so popular. 

Hwu is a tumor immunologist, and he usually recommends that his patients choose a Keto diet while being treated. He also reiterates that more studies still need to be done on what is an ideal diet for cancer patients. But from his experience, the Keto diet has shown improved biomarkers associated with heart health.

Does the Keto diet consist only of meat?

The Keto diet was once used to treat people with severe epilepsy. Many of these patients chose this diet for life and did not show any damage. Contrary to popular belief, the diet does not consist of just eating large amounts of meat. Dr. Hwu has a to-go foods list, including full-fat regular cream cheese, sour cream and avocados. Also, in his diet, he consumes green vegetables and cauliflower.

Hwy has lost 25 pounds since beginning the Keto diet. He has also had positive changes in his health: his blood pressure, triglycerides, and sugar levels have all dropped.

“I feel that fat intake has been overly emphasized as a negative factor and that a high intake of carbs and the subsequent spikes in insulin and IGF-1 (an insulin-like hormone in the blood) that they cause are more harmful to health overall,” Hwu said.

The Keto Diet and Cancer Patients

Dr. Jennifer McQuade, Hwy’s colleague and a physician scientist, says there are studies in progress where humans and animals are being tested regarding the Keto diet amd cancer. They’re also testing a plant-based high fiber diet that focuses on the gut microbiome, a form of treatment for cancer that uses the patient’s own immune system to battle the disease. The results of the research are expected in early 2020.  

MD Anderson researchers will be studying whether insulin and IGF-1 levels drop in cancer survivors who are following a Ketogenic diet.  To maintain a control on the patients’ diet, the study will be conducted in a MD Anderson kitchen.


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